My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary – Rae Earl


Author: Rae Earl

Rating: 4/5


It’s 1989 and Rae is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint off-green bath suite and a larder Rae can’t keep away from. This is the hilarious and touching real-life diary she kept during that fateful year – with characters like her evil friend Bethany, Bethany’s besotted boyfriend, and the boys from the grammar school up the road (who have code names like Haddock and Battered Sausage).

My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary evokes a vanished time when Charles and Di are still together, the Berlin wall is up, Kylie is expected to disappear from the charts at any moment and it’s £1 for a Snakebite and Black in the Vaults pub. My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary will appeal to anyone who’s lived through the 1980s. But it will also strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been a confused, lonely teenager who clashes with their mother, takes themselves VERY seriously and has no idea how hilarious they are.


Channel 4 has recently made a series based on this book – or shall I say, diary. It’s funny and brilliant and while the acting is not the best as Sherlock or Doctor Who, it’s real and raw. I watched the show and fell in love with it, and knew I had to read the diary it’s based off of.

First, I just have to say – take this at face value. There’s no huge plot line, and it’s not written as a story like Perks of being a Wallflower. It’s real. It’s an actual diary, so don’t expect brilliant storytelling.

Rae Earl chronicles her teenage years in a secret diary that she started writing soon after she was released from hospitalization. Her “friend”, Bethany, introduces her to a group where she belongs. Notice there’s quotes around friend, because Bethany is a total slag beeeeotch. Rae has her ups and downs, and sounds like any other horny, lovesick teenager.

Rae, like any other teens, is pressured by her peers and deals with depressing, OCD, eating disorders, etc. As I was reading her diary entries, I was stunned by how even as a teenager, her writing was really stellar. Not to say that most teens can’t write, but she definitely has a gift.

Rae is often teased and ridiculed by her peers, strangers, and even her own mother. Her friends even take jabs at her. I honestly felt bad for her,  reading these experiences. She powered through, strong as an ox, though, where many of us would’ve probably have given up.

Is it brimming with plot twists and and astounding character development? No. It’s a diary. It’s not a novel. I recommend you all read this, but realize what it is – a diary. I mean, really, if you kept one in your adolescent years, you’ll probably laugh at how you sounded.

I give this 4/5 stars, because I was not happy with the end! Not at all! But, like I said, it’s a diary. Things end, and there’s new beginnings.

I just really hoped Rae ended up with a guy that could see her for how beautiful she is.

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1 Comment

  1. Grace

     /  April 4, 2014

    I felt the ending was quite good. Ambiguous to say the least, but it lets the reader’s mind wander.

    I do think that they would have gotten together, I wouldn’t be surprised, it was obvious Haddock had liked her from the start, even if just as a friend at first, it had grew.

    The chemistry was good enough to prove that, no matter what she looked like.

    You know I saw a picture of her in a telegraph article from 1990, and to be honest, she wasn’t even that big. she was a little bigger than I am, how social acceptance to bigger and smaller sizes has changed over the years.

    p.s apparently Rae Earl has been talking about writing a sequel to this, and also she is going to be writing an ‘adult’ series of books, too! whatever that’s supposed to mean, haha.

    – Grace xx


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